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Health and wellness garners attention from Sam’s new leadership

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. —Health-and-wellness businesses have been targeted for growth by a new senior leadership team at Sam’s Club that is intent on gaining a larger percentage of market share in categories viewed as having favorable growth characteristics.

The increased emphasis on traditional drug store categories is one element of a new merchandising strategy dubbed “Project Portfolio,” along with new thinking about the competitive environment being led by new Sam’s Club president and CEO Brian Cornell and EVP merchandising and replenishment Linda Hefner.

Cornell joined Sam’s in March after previously serving for two years as president and CEO of Michael’s. The following month, he called on Linda Heffner, then Walmart’s EVP merchandising for the home business, to serve as Sam’s head merchant. Together, the pair is overseeing a re-assorting of the product mix that involves increased space being allocated to such categories as health-and-wellness, as well as such fresh categories as produce, meat, bakery and meal solutions. Conversely, assortments and selling space will be reduced for such categories as large appliances, sporting goods, furniture, movies/DVDs, seasonal and apparel.

In addition to the merchandising changes, the new leadership team is thinking more broadly about the competitive environment in which it operates. For example, while Costco and BJ’s are companies Sam’s executives wake up thinking about every day, according to Cornell, Sam’s also competes with supermarkets, specialty stores and even restaurants when it comes to consumers deciding what’s for dinner.

Talk of new strategic initiatives being executed by a new senior leadership team tends to elicit a bit of a “hear we go again” reaction among Sam’s longtime trading partners who are familiar with the company’s track record of senior management turnover. However, despite occasionally wavering in its direction, Sam’s Club has grown considerably over the year, and today generates annual sales of roughly $47 billion. The club operator plans to open just five to 10 new or relocated clubs next year, but remodel between 70 and 90 units of its more than 600 domestic units. It is a continuation of a trend that began last year when Sam’s opened 15 new and relocated clubs and remodeled about 55 units.

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Hy-Vee names new president

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.

The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.

Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.

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Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.

Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.

“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”

It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .

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